Local Matters

Community Sponsors

notify

July 2, 2020 - 3:34pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, batavia city school district.

The Batavia City School District is forming a Reopen Batavia Strong Task Force to be partly comprised of parents and students to assist in sharing information and formulating a plan going into the next school year.

Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr., in a tweet on the district's website, wrote that "your input and participation in our reopening plans is vital."

Those interested in joining the committee are asked to send an email to [email protected] by Wednesday, July 8. The email should include the person's first and last name, best email address and phone number. 

Parents are asked to state where their children are enrolled and students are asked to identify their school and grade level for the 2020-21 school year.

The task force's first meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, July 10, likely in a virtual format.

Soler has indicated that three options are on the table at this point -- full in-person school attendance, a hybrid model of in-school and remote learning, and a 100-percent remote learning environment.

July 2, 2020 - 11:13am

Update: 2:30 p.m. -- with comments from Benedict

-------------

Alice Ann Benedict was elected president of the Batavia City School District Board of Education on Wednesday morning, replacing longtime board member Patrick Burk.alice_ann_benedict.jpg

The unanimous selection of the board took place at a reorganizational meeting at the district’s administration conference room.

Benedict, a lifelong Batavian and former BOE president, was appointed in May to fill the board seat vacated by Zachary Korzelius. She then was elected by district residents to a three-year term in voting announced on June 16.

On Wednesday, Benedict, along with board members Barbara Bowman and Tanni Bromley, were sworn in by Business Administrator Scott Rozanski. Bowman and Bromley were re-elected last month.

As she took the president’s seat at the conference table, Benedict said, “Thank you all for your support and please bear with me. It’s been a while since I’ve been president of the board.”

Her first order of business was to call for a nomination for vice president. The board promptly voted for Peter Cecere to fill that position.

Benedict, a BOE member from 1995-2006, is familiar with the leadership role, having served three terms as president.

She and her husband, Wayne, and their three children are Batavia High School graduates. She also is an alumna of Genesee Community College.

"I am excited to be back on the BOE and becoming president is an added honor," Benedict said. "I take the responsibility very seriously and I know my experience from being on the BOE previously, will serve me well."

She said the board is operating during "an unprecedented and challenging time" and is inundated with information concerning students' academics along with the health and safety of students, teachers, staff and the community.

"I urge the community to get involved, participate in meetings, and engage with our Board," she added. "I want all of us to work together to be stakeholders in the future education of all our students."

Burk, who nominated Benedict for president, called the change a “transitional move.” He said that he had planned to retire from the board at the end of this year.

His term expires on June 30, 2021.

“This was a planned thing to bring in new leadership,” said Burk, a board member for close to 30 years. “With the theater up and moving forward, I will be concentrating in that area, and it really wouldn’t make sense to be president and leave (a void).”

He was referring to the Batavia Players Theater 56, which is in the process of relocating from Harvester Avenue to the City Centre as part of the state’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Burk is president, executive and artistic director of Batavia Players.

Burk also serves as the executive director of the Genesee Valley School Boards Association, which represents 22 school boards in Western New York. He is the 2016 recipient of the GVSBA's Albert W. Hawk Award for Distinguished School Board Service for his contributions to public education and children in his community.

Batavia Superintendent Anibal Soler Jr. said he wasn’t surprised by the board’s action to elect Benedict, noting that Burk has been involved for quite some time and that this was a “logical step in the transition.”

“Mr. Burk still is a valuable resource – he’s an active member and has a vote – and brings a ton of historical and institutional knowledge (to the board),” Soler said.

July 1, 2020 - 4:25pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, notify, batavia.

Kevin M. Waleski Jr. (inset photo right), 32, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with: second-degree burglary; fourth-degree criminal mischief; attempted criminal mischief; resisting arrest; and obstruction of governmental administration. Waleski was arrested after an incident at 2:35 a.m. on June 26 on Ellicott Avenue, Batavia, in which he was allegedly found inside the enclosed patio of a third party residence without permission. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court via Skype and jailed without bail. He is due to return to city court on Aug. 13. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Connor Borchert, assisted by Officer Alec Roberts, as well as officers Arick Perkins and Josh Girvin.

Andre L. Roberts (inset photo left), 27, of Burrows Street, Rochester, is charged with: second-degree burglary; second-degree harassment -- physical contact; and criminal mischief in the fourth degree -- preventing emergency assistance; and obstruction of governmental administration in the second degree. Roberts was arrested at 9:11 p.m. on June 24 after allegedlyentering a dwelling on Willow Street in Batavia and attempting to prevent a resident from calling 9-1-1. He also allegedly resisted being detained by a police officer who arrived on scene. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Roberts is due back in city court on Aug. 13. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Officer Cowen Mitchell.

Darius Lamar Jones, 28, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with: second-degree harassment; third-degree criminal mischief; and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. Jones was arrested after an investigation into a domestic incident that occurred at 7:15 a.m. May 11 on Summit Street in Batavia. He was arraigned in Batavia City Court and jailed without bail. He is due in city court again on July 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay, assisted by Officer Stephen Quider.

Booker T. Ricks, 48, of North Lyon Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Ricks was arrested and charged following an investigation into an incident at 6:45 p.m. on June 25 in which two small children were observed climbing out of a second-story window, and onto the roof of a residence. He was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Sarah Patricia Lytle, 37, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt and criminal purchase or disposal of a weapon. On June 29 Lytle was arrested on the charges. It is alleged that at 3 p.m. on June 17 on Lewiston Road in Batavia that she attempted to buy a firearm while she was the subject of an order of protection, which prohibits her ability to do so. She was issued an appearance ticket for Town of Batavia Court and is due there on July 29. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Chad Minuto.

Desmond R. Miller, 25, of East Bayard Street, Seneca Falls, is charged with fourth-degree grand larceny. Miller was arrested after an investigation into a motorcycle that was stolen at 3 p.m. on May 25 on Oak Street in Batavia. Miller was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released on his own recognizance. He is due back in city court on  Aug. 20. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Jason Ivison.

Jose A. Rivera, 33, of Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with third-degree criminal mischief. Rivera was arrested at 3:43 p.m. on June 25 after he allegedly slashed the tires on a vehicle on Swan Street. He was processed at Batavia Police Headquarters, arraigned in Batavia City Court, then released. Rivera is due back in city court on Aug. 13. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Wesley Rissinger.

A 17-year-old female resident of Batavia was arrested and charged with unlawful possession of fireworks. The arrest was made after police responded at 9:26 p.m. June 28 to State Street for multiple complaints about fireworks. Police allegedly located the teen and found her in possession of, and using, a Roman candle. She was issued an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 29. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Matthew C. Olcott, 41, of Clinton Street Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor, and unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree, a violation. Jerwan B. McFarley, 34, of Lehigh Avenue, Batavia, is charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, a Class A misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree, a violation. Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Ryan DeLong conducted a traffic stop of a car that Olcott and McFarley were traveling in on Cedar Street in Batavia during the afternoon of June 29. It is alleged that Olcott was in possession of crack cocaine, drug paraphernalia and was driving with a suspended license. It is alleged that McFarley possessed crack cocaine and marijuana. Both defendants were arrested by members of the county's Local Drug Enforcement Task Force and issued appearance tickets for City of Batavia Court.

July 1, 2020 - 2:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in joshua blessed, Le Roy, news, notify.

4c684d8a-a8b5-4242-9290-421f750052f5-medium16x9_geneseotruck1.jpeg

blessedmug2020.jpg
             Joshua Blessed

The Virginia-based trucker whom Le Roy police encountered May 27, starting a perilous chase that eventually led to his death, was a credible threat to cops and civilians, Livingston County Sheriff Thomas J. Dougherty said yesterday in a press conference.

The bombs, guns and ammo Joshua Blessed had stored in his private vehicle and the bedroom he was renting in Rockingham County, Va., along with is social media posting, indicate Blessed was planning something big.

But it wasn't part of his plan in May, Dougherty said, to engage with law enforcement on that day.

"Our investigation shows that Blessed really was on the road to Batavia and what prompted this and triggered Blessed this day was the proactive traffic stop by the Le Roy Police Department," Dougherty said.

Blessed's white tractor-trailer, owned by Yurman Express, based in Harrisonburg, Va., was stopped by Le Roy PD officers in the Village of Le Roy for speeding on Main Street. The trailer was empty, which lends credence to the theory, Dougherty said, that Blessed really was driving to Batavia to pick up dairy product.

The search by the FBI of Blessed private vehicle in Virginia turned up three IEDs (improvised explosive devices), an AK-17, 9mm magazines, and $18,000 in cash.

A search of the bedroom he was renting -- Blessed, previously known as Sergia Journev, had apparently not been living with is family for at least 18 months -- found 11 IEDs, an AK-47 with a scope, a .50-caliber rifle, a .338 sniper rifle, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and $130,000 in cash. 

Blessed had made several social media posts attacking law enforcement and promoting violence against police officers. 

"The traffic stop set him off," Dougherty said. "That doesn't mean he didn't have a plan for the future. Based on what was recovered in the vehicle and in the bedroom, he certainly had a plan for the future. What that plan was, I don't have that information."

There is no indication that others were specifically involved in Blessed's planning, Dougherty said. That may be part of an ongoing FBI investigation.

"There are no details showing an immediate concern either here or there," Dougherty said.

Blessed died of a gunshot wound to the head. He also suffered three gunshots to his hip. Two deputies were firing long guns at Blessed at the time the shoot-out came to its fatal conclusion. The bullet that killed Blessed has not been recovered. Dougherty said he would not release the names of the deputies firing at Blessed at the time he was killed.

Blessed fired at least 24 rounds at cops. There were 24 shell casings recovered. His empty magazines indicate he fired at least 29 shots but that doesn't mean he hadn't discarded empty magazines somewhere along the way. A magazine for Blessed's 9mm Glock with seven rounds still in it was recovered, along a magazine containing 17 rounds (the capacity of the magazines Blessed was using).

Deputies from Livingston and Genesee counties returned fire at least 129 times in four different locations along the chase route, with 48 rounds fired at the final standoff location at Route 20a and Morgan View Road.

The incident started at 8:37 p.m. with the traffic stop in Le Roy and ended with Blessed death at 9:27 p.m. The chase went through Le Roy and Stafford before Blessed executed a U-turn and headed back toward Le Roy, going to Route 19 south into Wyoming County and then into Livingston County.

Dougherty said during the chase he remembered thinking that the driver was a danger to the public and to his officers but that he was also a highly skilled driver.

“This is a very unique situation," Dougherty said. "Somebody said to me, ‘that’s once in a career.’ This isn’t once in a career. You could serve multiple careers in law enforcement and never encounter a heavy vehicle, it’s pretty much impossible to stop unless you have a heavier vehicle and then add in an active shooter, a guy who is actively trying to kill cops. That’s something that is more Hollywoodesque than reality."

It was a miracle, with all the bullets flying around, the high-speed chase, Blessed's clear intention to harm other people, that nobody besides Blessed lost any blood.

"Not even a scratch," Dougherty said.

72948962-c4f9-4516-a0f9-843803b974f6-medium16x9_geneseotruck2.jpeg

Photos: Livingston County Sheriff's Office.

Thanks to our news partner 13WHAM for video of the press conference

Previously:

July 1, 2020 - 1:12pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, city of batavia, genesee county, town of batavia, covid-19.

City of Batavia, Genesee County and Town of Batavia leaders reported that they have received four-fifths of the video lottery terminal funds owed to their municipalities by New York State.

“Our VLT money came in today (Tuesday) – 80 percent of the $440,000,” said Acting City Manager Rachael Tabelski.

The City’s actual number was $440,789, so that means that $352,631 is being added to its coffers at this time.

City Council President Eugene Jankowski said that although the money doesn’t change the recently passed 2020-21 budget that calls for a 7.48 percent property tax increase, it certainly will help ease the pain.

“That’s really good news, actually,” Jankowski said. “The budget is fixed – we’re set with that – but the additional money will help to offset some of the damage done by the COVID-19 situation.  It offsets some of the loss of sales tax revenue and other income because of the virus.”

Jankowski said City officials are expecting a 30 percent loss of income due to the pandemic, but he’s hoping it’s not quite that bad.

“I’m looking forward to see the June numbers to see if we’re continuing in a positive direction,” he noted.

Tabelski said the VLT funds generated at Batavia Downs Gaming aren’t enough to alter the City’s ultra-conservative approach as it deals with COVID-19.

“It still doesn’t change our austerity budget planning,” she said. “We can’t open up the flood gates in spending.”

Tabelski said that management created a COVID austerity plan several weeks ago, halting purchases, travel and training and instituting a hiring freeze to decrease expenses. The City did not furlough employees, but did lay off part-time employees, including those who ran the summer youth program.

“A victim of that (hiring freeze) was our summer youth program,” she said. “We have 150 kids throughout the city that come in – and from the town -- to utilize the parks. That was a hard decision, but in light of COVID and not knowing the social distancing, it also made it an easy decision.”

In March, City Council passed its 2020-21 budget with the tax increase based on the assumption that the state would be withholding the VLT money. The board appealed to Albany and solicited the support of Assemblyman Stephen Hawley and Sen. Michael Ranzenhofer.

Reached today by telephone, Hawley said that Gov. Andrew Cuomo released “what he believes he can do to remain solvent (80 percent) … as it is directly tied to the horrific situation that we’re in.”

Still, he says that if the economy recovers or federal stimulus money is forwarded to the state, the other 20 percent of the VLT money should be given to the municipalities.

Hawley said that he hopes newly-elected Congressman Chris Jacobs would fight for federal funds for municipalities. He also blamed Cuomo for the state’s financial dilemma.

“The State of New York hasn’t been managed smoothly in terms of balancing the budget,” he said. “He (Cuomo) entered with $6.2 billion deficit going into his 2020-21 budget and now that COVID is upon us, the (deficit) numbers from the governor doubles and quadruples. Some states have been run in a prudent fashion and others have not – with New York State being one of them.”

Batavia Town Supervisor Gregory Post said that the Town will be getting $128,310 in VLT funds – 80 percent of the full amount of $160,388.

“We are constantly fighting an uphill battle for them (state leaders) to perform the way they expect us to perform,” Post said.

Genesee County Treasurer Scott German said that $160,313 has been received. That also is 80 percent of the county’s full allocation of $200,392.

July 1, 2020 - 12:45pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, sports, muckdogs, batavia, notify.

One thing is certain: There will be no professional baseball in Batavia in 2020.

The decision is final, according to numerous news reports that say the Minor League Baseball season is canceled because Major League Baseball teams will not furnish the minors with players in 2020. 

If there is an MLB season, it will likely start later this month, with only 60 games on the schedule. Teams would be limited to 60 eligible players. The 20 players beyond the standard 40-man roster would practice and workout on "taxi squads."

New York Penn League President Ben Hayes, in an exclusive interview with The Batavian a week ago, was still hopeful at that point that there would be a 2020 season for his league and the Muckdogs. We've not been able to reach him for comment today.

While it's quite possible there will never again be a professional baseball game played in Dwyer Stadium, last week Hayes was also hopeful that wouldn't be the case.

Prior to the pandemic hitting, the future of baseball in Batavia didn't look good. The MLB is trying to force the MiLB to accept a contraction, eliminating 42 minor league teams, including the entire NYPL. While there was talk of creating a "dreamers league" of low-level prospects, and Batavia could be a potential spot for such a team, there was no indication at that stage of negotiations on whether Batavia would be part of those plans.  

An ESPN column suggests that the 2020 cancellation and pandemic have effectively eliminated whatever leverage the minor league teams might have had to stop the contraction. Several teams were in a precarious situation financially, not just including the 42 slated for elimination, and now the financial situation is much worse for those teams.

Last week, Hayes said he has communicated his desire to MiLB negotiators to see at least one more season of NYPL baseball, asking that the contraction be delayed until after the 2021 season, which would give cities like Batavia a farewell tour with their teams.

June 30, 2020 - 5:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

 Antibody Testing: This is a current snapshot of the SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results both departments have received and will be updated periodically, but not daily.

  • Genesee County: Of the 1,589 antibody test results received, there were 46 who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) antibodies.
  • Orleans County: Of the 687 antibody test results received, there were 17 who tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 (the virus that causes COVID-19) antibodies.

Since last week there has been one new positive for antibodies for Genesee County and zero new positives for Orleans County of the SARS-CoV-2 antibody test results received.

June 30, 2020 - 12:02pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, Batavia Town Board, My-T Acres.

The Batavia Town Board this morning voted to authorize Supervisor Gregory Post to sign documents that will secure the purchase of five small properties along Park Road to facilitate the Town’s $3 million Park Road Improvement Project.

The easements – three from Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. and one each from Alex’s Place and Benderson Development (owner of the former Kmart store) – were bought for the nominal sum of $10 each.

Town officials needed the parcels as it prepares for the major rehabilitation of the road from Lewiston Road (Route 63) to Oak Street (Route 98). The state-funded project is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021.

As reported previously on The Batavian, work will include new pavement, curbs and curbing from Lewiston Road to Richmond Avenue with sidewalks on both sides of Park Road, while pavement will by pavement will be overlaid and sidewalks installed on one side of the road from Richmond Avenue to Route 98.

The project also calls for new water lines and street lights on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.

In other action, the board:

-- Approved the purchase of 10 annual Laserfiche Participant User Subscriptions at a cost of $97 each and remote services at a cost of $150 to be used by employees who are working remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

-- Approved a “license agreement” with My-T-Acres Inc., for the farm operation to place a water pump on a 2.9-acre parcel on West Main Street Road to serve its agricultural needs. Currently, the Town is not using the land for governmental purposes.

June 29, 2020 - 4:16pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received three new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 224 positive cases.
    • Two of the new positive individuals reside in Batavia and one of the new positive cases resides in Le Roy.
    • One of the individuals is in their 20s, one of the individuals is in their 40s and one of the individuals is in their 50s.
    • None of the new positive individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive
    • Eight of the previous community active positives have recovered and have been releases
  • Orleans County received two new positive cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 266 positive cases.
    • One of the new positive individuals lives in Barre and one of the new positive cases lives at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center.
    • One of the individuals is in their 20s and one of the individuals is in their 60s.
    • Neither of the two new positive individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • One of the previous community positive cases has recovered and has been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Ten of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
    • We are saddened to report the death of one of our county residents. This person lived at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this individual during this very challenging time.
June 29, 2020 - 1:56pm
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, news, crime, notify, corfu, batavia.

Darius Lamar Jones (inset photo right), 28, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with: unlawful possession of marijuana; criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree; criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree -- a Class B felony; and third-degree criminal trespass. Jones was arrested after a domestic incident at 12:26 p.m. on June 24 on North Spruce Street. Jones allegedly fled on foot and was taken into custody after a short pursuit. While arresting Jones, Batavia police allegedly found a substance suspected to be crack cocaine, fentanyl strips and sales packaging material. Jones was arraigned in Batavis City Court via Skype and jailed without bail. He is due back in city court at a later date (unspecified). The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Stephen Quider, assisted by Officer Christopher Lindsay.

Raymond B. Howard Sr. (inset photo left),  56, of Curlew Street, Rochester, is a convicted sex offender charged with failure to verify a change in address within 30 days -- first offense; and failure to register a new address within 10 days. Both charges were issued Dec. 23. Howard was arrested on a warrant out of Batavia City Court and arraigned on June 21. He is due to return to city court on July 23. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Austin Hedges.

Rachael L. Rodvik, 43, of Barry Street, Sweden, is charged with: falsifying business records in the second degree; falsifying business records; petit larceny; and fourth-degree grand larceny. At 7:56 a.m. on June 23, Rodvik was arrested on a warrant out of Batavia City Court after an investigation by Batavia Police Det. Jason Ivison into a fraud incident that occurred from Dec. 1 through April 30 on Liberty Street in Batavia. She was arraigned in city court, then released on her own recognizance. She is due to return to city court on Aug. 13. Assisting Det. Ivison in the case were Batavia Police Officer Samuel Freeman, assisted by Nicole McGinnis.

Donald Michael Walls, of Willow Street, Rochester, is charged with petit larceny, aggravated unlicensed operation in the second degree and trespass. At 2:04 a.m. on June 28, Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jordan Alejandro stated in an incident report: "I observed Walls in the act of stealing multiple pieces of patio furniture from Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant." After his arrest, Walls was released on appearance tickets and is due in Town of Pembroke Court on July 29. Jordan was assisted in the case by Deputy Ryan Young.

Luis J. Santiago, 32, of Buell Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree criminal contempt. He was arrested at 10:30 a.m. June 23 after a domestic incident at an aprtment on Edwards Street in Batavia. It is alleged that he contacted a person protected by an order of protection. After he was processed at Batavia police headquarters, he was released with an appearance ticket to be in Batavia City Court on July 28. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Kevin DeFelice, assisted by Officer John Gombos.

Nicole Patricia Lucca, 27, of Linwood Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with: driving while intoxicated -- with a BAC of .08 percent or more; DWI -- first offense; and moving from lane unsafely. After a motor-vehicle accident at 4:18 a.m. May 17 on Knowlesville Road in Alabama, Lucca was arrested on the charges. She is due in Town of Alabama Court on Aug. 26. The case was handled by Genesee County Sheriff's Deputy Jonathan Dimmig, assisted by Deputy Kenneth Quackenbush.

June 26, 2020 - 6:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, Stafford, notify.

A 57-year-old Fillmore man died on Bethany Center Road, Town of Stafford, today after a 2012 Harley-Davidson he was driving struck broadside a pickup truck that was attempting to turn around a few hundred yards north of a crest of the hill.

Donald M. Bernard was northbound when his motorcycle hit the passenger side door of a 2019 Honda pickup driven by Joseph C. Johnson.

Bernard was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The investigation is ongoing but Chief Deputy Brian Frieday indicated at the scene this afternoon that charges are possible.

Town of Batavia fire and Mercy EMS responded to the scene.

The collision is being investigated by the Crash Management Team.

NOTE: In accordance with an agreement with the Sheriff's Office, The Batavian withheld publication of photos or a video prior to the name of the victim being released to ensure family notifications were complete.

June 26, 2020 - 4:42pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received three new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 221 positive cases.
    • All of the new positive individuals reside in Darien.
    • One of the individuals is less than 20 years old, and two of the individuals are in their 40s.
    • All of the new positive individuals were on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive
  • Orleans County received zero new positive cases of COVID-19 today for a total of 264 positive cases
    • Two of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • Ten of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility. We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
    • We are saddened to report the death of one of our county residents. This person lived at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this individual during this very challenging time.

There are 11 active cases and 43 people in quarantine.

June 26, 2020 - 11:11am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, news, batavia, notify.

Emergency dispatch has received a report of a motorcycle down in the roadway with the rider in the roadway unresponsive.

The location is at Bethany Center Road and Ellicott Street Road, Batavia.

Town of Batavia fire along with Mercy EMS responding.  

Mercy Flight is on in-air standby.

UPDATE(S) (By Billie)11:28 a.m.: There is loose gravel on the roadway at the crash site. A portion of Bethany Center Road is shut down to through traffic.

UPDATE 11:32 a.m.: Per town command, Mercy Flight's in-air standby is cancelled and it is put back in service.

UPDATE 11:35 a.m.: The county's Crash Management Team is summoned to the scene.

UPDATE 11:42 a.m.: A silver pickup truck was also involved in this accident; no word yet on injuries, if any, to the occupant(s). The truck is up an embankment on the east side of Bethany Center Road.

UPDATE 12:33 p.m.: This was a fatal accident. The motorcycle rider who died at the scene is an older male who lived out of the area, according to Genesee County Chief Deputy Brian Frieday. The rider was northbound on Bethany Center Road when he went over the crest of a hill and slammed into the silver pickup truck. The truck driver had pulled into a driveway near the crest of the hill in order to turn around and change direction of travel, when he pulled out of the driveway in front of the motorcyclist, who he never saw coming, Frieday said. The truck driver was not injured.

June 25, 2020 - 6:52pm

Western Regional Off-Track Betting Corp. directors today voted to grant three easements to the Town of Batavia to support the municipality’s $3 million road project stretching from Lewiston Road (Route 63) to Oak Street (Route 98).

“They are small pieces of the property -- three parcels the Town needs to do the work,” WROTB President Henry Wojtaszek said following the board’s conference call meeting. “This will result in major improvements (along the road).”

The Town is in the process of acquiring easements from three Park Road properties -- Batavia Downs Gaming, Alex’s Place and Benderson Development, owner of the former Kmart – as part of the design phase, said Tom Lichtenthal, the Town’s highway superintendent and assistant engineer.

Lichtenthal said the New York State-funded project has been in the works for 12 years.

“It looks like we finally received the money and it looks like we are going to be able to move forward with the project,” he said.

Lichtenthal said the rehabilitation will include new pavement, curbs and curbing from Lewiston Road to Richmond Avenue with sidewalks on both sides of Park Road.

From Richmond Avenue to Route 98, pavement will be overlaid and sidewalks installed on one side of the road, he said. The sidewalks will be placed on the same side as the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department office until the road bends, and then on the other side from the hotels that stretch to Route 98.

He also said that new water lines will be put in and street lights will be installed on Park Road between Route 63 and Richmond Avenue.

The Town of Town of Batavia is handling the engineering aspects of the project.

Lichtenthal said construction bids will go out this winter, with work scheduled to begin in the spring of 2021.

In other news from the WROTB meeting:

-- Directors reported that the Belmont Stakes generated $345,000 in wagers at OTB branches last Saturday and the total handle for the day was $700,000.

Although both figures represent decreases of more than $210,000 from last year, the handle was deemed as significant in light of the economic situation.

-- Live racing will return to Batavia Downs on July 25 but with only 43 dates instead of the 65 previously announced. Wojtaszek said the plan calls for racing on Tuesdays and Saturdays through mid-December.

-- Batavia Bets, the corporation’s secure online horse wagering platform, took in $863,000 in April and more than $1.1 million in May, Comptroller Jacquelyne Leach reported.

June 25, 2020 - 5:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in news, crime, notify, batavia.

Jason W. Whitehead Jr., 22, of Batavia, and Dakota E. Woodruff, 20, of Olean, were arrested after a motor-vehicle accident on Route 19 in the Town of Covington on June 24 (time not provided). Whitehead was driving a 2003 Suburu Legacy eastbound when he allegedly failed to negotiate a left-hand curve at the intersection of Court Road. According to the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office report by Sgt. Colin Reagan, Whitehead's vehicle left the roadway, sheared off a telephone pole, and took down multiple roadway signs. In addition to Wyoming County deputies, Pavilion Fire Department responded to the scene. The driver was allegedly found to possess cocaine and marijuana; he also had a non-driver ID with an active suspension. After performing poorly on field sobriety tests at the scene, he was arrested for driving while ability impaired by drugs. His passenger, Woodruff, was found to have a felony warrant out of Erie County so she was arrested, transported to Erie County and the Erie County Sheriff's Office took custody of her. Whitehead was taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office and evaluated by a drug recognition expert, who determined Whitehead was impaired by multiple categories of controlled substances. He is charged with: criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree; criminally using drug paraphernalia in the second degree; unlawful possession of marijuana in the second degree; driving while ability impaired by drugs; driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs; aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree; unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; and moving from lane unsafely. He was released to a sober family member and is due to answer the charges in Town of Covington Court on July 13. Subsequent to Whitehead's June 24 arrest, he was arrested again in connection with the same incident on June 25 after the owner of the vehicle reported to the Wyoming County Sheriff's Office that Whitehead had been driving without consent. A warrant was issued for Whitehead and the Genesee County Sheriff's Office arrested him and the Wyoming County Sheriff's deputies later took custody of him. This charge was added to the file: unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in the third degree; then he was released from custody. He will answer all charges, including the added-on charge, at his July 13 appearance in Town of Covington Court.

James R. McNally, 57, of Roosevelt Avenue, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child and forcible touching. McNally was arrested at 6:13 on June 17 on Clinton Street in the City of Batavia following an unspecified incident. He was arraigned in city court via Skype, then released under supervision of Genesee Justice. He is due back in court at 9 a.m. on July 23. The case was investigated by Batavia Police Officer Austin Hedges, assisted by Officer Marc Lawrence.

Pamela J. Thomas, 41, of Maple Street, Batavia, is charged with disprderly conduct, resisting arrest and harassment in the second degree. She was arrested at 10:03 p.m. June 16 on Denio Street following an incident wherein she allegedly yelled at a person and threatened them. She was released on an appearance ticket and is due in Batavia City Court on July 21. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Sean Wilson, assisted by Sgt. Eric Bolles.

Marshawn J. Singletery, 38, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. The defendant was arrested following a domestic incident at 4:45 a.m. June 22 on Liberty Street. Singletery was arraigned in Batavia City Court and released to the Genesee Justice Program. The defendant is due to return to city court on Aug. 13. The case was handled by Batavia Police Officer Connor Borchert, assisted by Officer Joshua Girvin.

June 25, 2020 - 4:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in covid-19, coronavirus, news, notify.

Press release:

As of 2 p.m.

  • Genesee County received two new positive cases of COVID-19, for a total of 218 positive cases.
    • One of the new positive individuals resides in Batavia and one resides in Le Roy.
    • One of the individuals is less than 20 years old and one individual is in their 40s.
    • The new positive individuals were not on mandatory quarantine prior to testing positive.
    • Four of the previous community positive cases have recovered and have been released from mandatory isolation.
    • One of the total active cases is hospitalized.
  • Orleans County received 0 new positive cases of COVID-19 today, for a total of 264 positive cases.
    • Ten of the total active positive cases are hospitalized. Please note those in the hospital may be from the community or a state-regulated facility.  We do not separate them out to protect their privacy.
    • We are saddened to report the death of one of our county residents. This person lived at the Orchard Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. We extend our deepest condolences to the family and friends of this individual during this very challenging time.
June 25, 2020 - 3:18pm

In a rare piece of positive financial news during the COVID-19 pandemic, Genesee County is in line for a $23,525 weekly savings in Medicaid costs through next March.

“We are finally getting what we have been waiting for (since the first Federal Stimulus bill),” said County Manager Jay Gsell in response to the state Division of Budget’s announcement of the disbursement of $323 million in enhanced Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage funds to counties.

The funds were part of the Families First Coronavirus stimulus package passed by Congress and signed by the President in March and are earmarked for states and counties to help them in the midst of the novel coronavirus.

Gsell said all counties were notified today via a letter and a note to county treasurers that “80 percent of the money will be coming to us via our adjustment in our weekly shares.”

That reduces the county’s weekly shares of Medicaid from $177,332 to $153,807 – a difference of $23,525 – starting with the first week of July 2020 and running through March 31, 2021.

Stephen Acquario, executive director of the New York State Association of Counties, thanked Sen. Charles Schumer for his continued advocacy to provide enhanced federal funding for New York State’s Medicaid Program.

“Senator Schumer has a long history of fighting for enhanced federal Medicaid assistance at times we needed it most, including after the tragedy of 9/11, during The Great Recession, as part of the Affordable Care Act, and now during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Acquario said in a press release. “These valiant efforts have provided the state and county taxpayers with billions of dollars in relief over this period of time.”

In a related development, NYSAC today put out another press release, renewing its call for federal coronavirus funding for states and counties in light of a new report from Moody’s Analytics that projects an additional 4 million layoffs from states and local governments across the nation.

According to the release:

“The report, detailed in recent news accounts, underscores the need for Congress and the President to act on an additional federal stimulus package that provides direct funding for states and local governments facing unprecedented funding shortfalls as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and economic recession.”

June 25, 2020 - 1:07pm

Four Main Street projects and another on Ellicott Street will be receiving New York Main Street grants, it was announced at today’s Batavia Development Corporation’s monthly meeting.

BDC Executive Director Andrew Maguire said that grants totaling $276,977 will be distributed to the following applicants who are planning to rehabilitate buildings within the Downtown Revitalization Initiative/Business Improvement District:

-- 206 E. Main St., (Main Street Pizza Company, The Spa at Artemis Spa building), $75,000, for a two-phased project consisting of façade renovation and, eventually, development of five residential units upstairs.

-- 201 E. Main St. (GO ART!), $75,000, for renovation of the sprinkler system and conversion to a mixed-use building with a single “artist residency.”

-- 219 E. Main St. (Fieldstone Private Wealth), $50,000, for façade and brick work, and exterior lighting.

-- 97 Main St. (old Genesee Bank building), $50,000, for rehabilitation of the first two floors to make it a viable commercial unit.

-- 33-39 Ellicott St. (Batavia Tailors building), $26,977, for heating/air conditioning work and façade renovation to achieve a uniform look with the rest of the building.

Maguire said the BDC received 11 applications for the grants.

New York Main Street grants are administered through the state’s Homes and Community Renewal agency to units of local government, and not-for-profit organizations for the revitalization of historic downtowns, mixed-use neighborhood commercial districts, and village centers.

Targeted commercial/residential improvements include façade renovations, interior commercial and residential building upgrades, and streetscape enhancements.

Entrepreneurs who accept the grants pay for expenses up front and are reimbursed according to parameters set by NYMS administrators. Projects under the program are given a two-year window for completion.

In other action, the board approved the audit for the fiscal year of April 1, 2019 through March 31, 2020 conducted by Laura Landers of Freed Maxick.

The audit noted a “material weakness” in that legal services in the amount of $28,591 were not recorded as accounts payable and a $20,000 grant from the City of Batavia was recorded as revenue instead of unearned revenue, since the requirements of the grant agreement had not been met as of March 31. Thus, the agency’s net position was overstated by $48,591.

The accounting firm recommended that the BDC obtain listings of outstanding legal fees from attorneys involved and review funding sources to ensure all revenue has met the requirements to be considered earned as of year-end.

Maguire said that management is taking the steps stipulated by Freed Maxick to correct these deficiencies.

The agency’s net position increased by about $20,000 from 2019 to 2020 – from $152,741 to $172,569.

The board also voted to amend the bylaws to increase the number of voting members from nine to 11 and then approved adding Pier Cipollone, a former BDC president, as a full-fledged director.

June 25, 2020 - 11:53am

parklets-1.jpg

Expanded outdoor dining opportunities in the short term; parklets in the long term.

Andrew Maguire, executive director of the Batavia Development Corporation, touted both ideas this morning as he emphasized the importance of providing opportunities for local restaurants to generate as much revenue as possible.

Speaking at the BDC Board of Directors meeting via Zoom, Maguire followed up on what was supported by City Council earlier this week: providing a way that restaurant owners can use City-owned property for outdoor dining purposes as they deal with the adverse effects of COVID-19.

“I think this is awesome and I think our restaurants are really going to benefit from this,” Maguire said.

Calling it a “cool new concept,” the temporary measure has been embraced by an economic development task force consisting of representatives from the City, Batavia Downtown Business Improvement District, BDC, Genesee County and the Chamber of Commerce.

“(There are) under-utilized or municipal-owned areas, like Jackson Square, where unfortunately we’re not going to be having concerts there this year. So, it’s pretty much open and available,” Maguire said. “We would like to allow our local restaurateurs to consider areas around their buildings that might be viable options for them to set up some outdoor seating.”

Currently, per mandates from New York State, indoor seating is limited to 50-percent capacity.

“If we can find a way to get them more tables outside, to seat more patrons and to attract more people to our downtown for outdoor dining, that’s really our ultimate goal,” Maguire said, acknowledging City leadership’s role in getting this initiative started.

Maguire encouraged restaurant owners to fill out the Temporary Outdoor Dining on City Property Application and submit it (along with a $250 fee) to the City of Batavia as soon as possible. The application is posted on the BDC’s website.

Turning his attention to future goals, Maguire introduced the directors to the parklet model (see rendering above) where existing parking spots are turned into curbside cubicles for outdoor dining.

“Some big cities, more cutting-edge cities, have these concepts where they allow restaurants or businesses to take areas that would typically be on-street parking (to) design and engineer what they consider a parklet … that’s flush to the curb, ADA (American with Disabilities Act) compliant and (has) outdoor seating,” he said.

Maguire explained that a restaurateur could build a deck and/or structure in front of his or her business, make sure it is protected from traffic by barricades and place some tables and chairs on the parcel. He sees it as a way to attract people to downtown and keep them there a bit longer.

“The goal is to get people to slow down in our downtown,” he said. “A lot times people beeline to where they’re going. If they walk by a parklet, we’re hopeful that they might actually stop or have a cup of coffee, sit in the parklet, read a newspaper … have some outdoor seating and enjoy some fresh air.”

He said that he is working with County Planning Director Felipe Oltramari and BID Director Beth Kemp on a template to present to City Council and, hopefully, get the go-ahead to put the plan in place.

BDC directors asked about the logistics of using existing parking spaces and what streets could be used, noting that Main Street (Route 5) may not be an option because it is a state road.

Maguire said the proposal is in its early stages and details would have to be worked out. He did say that a license agreement would be drafted between the owner and the City, with the stipulation that the owner have proper liability insurance and that the City is not liable in any way.

Director Derek Geib, a downtown restaurateur, said he likes the idea, considering that “50 percent (occupancy) doesn’t cut it to pay the bills.”

“I would like to say that I would start building a parklet tomorrow if I had the opportunity,” he said.

June 24, 2020 - 8:13pm
posted by Mike Pettinella in news, notify, genesee county legislature, covid-19, Gov. Cuomo.

Update: June 25, 8 a.m.

According to a report in The New York Times, the State of Washington has been dropped from the list after a review of the data.

---------------------

Unsure as to how Phase Four of New York’s business reopening plan will unfold, Genesee County legislators tonight were informed of another fresh development from the desk of Gov. Andrew Cuomo – a joint advisory mandating a 14-day quarantine of individuals traveling from states with “significant community spread” of COVID-19.

County Manager Jay Gsell reported on a press release issued earlier today that New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have joined forces to impose the order on those returning to their states from a state with a positive test rate higher than 10 per 100,000 residents over a seven-day rolling average, or a state with a 10 percent or higher positivity rate over a seven-day rolling average.

Gsell said the advisory, which takes effect at midnight, currently affects travelers coming back from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Utah, Texas and Washington.

“This has caught everybody by surprise,” Gsell said during the legislature’s regular meeting at the Old Courthouse. “Hopefully, clarity will be forthcoming, but it is causing a great deal of concern and consternation.”

Gsell wondered out loud how this travel advisory will be handled at the local level and who will be responsible for discovering if someone or a group of people have returned from one of the aforementioned states.

It puts a lot of pressure on the hotel operators, he said.

Cuomo teamed with New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont at a press conference today to announce the action.

“We've been working with our neighbors in New Jersey and Connecticut throughout this entire pandemic, and we're announcing a joint travel advisory that says people coming in from states with a high infection rate must quarantine for 14 days,” Cuomo said.

The press release noted that the three state leaders will provide frequent updates and “publish on their respective websites a list of states to which the new advisory applies.”

It went on to state that the measure will use uniform parameters and messaging on highways, airports, websites and social media across the three states. The three states will also ask hotels to communicate the 14-day quarantine to guests who have traveled from one of the impacted states.

Gsell also speculated that the “compact,” as he called it, could be expanded to place quarantine mandates for travelers returning to other states bordering or in close proximity to New York.

Reportedly, a $2,000 fine may be assessed to first-time violators, with the fine increasing to $10,000 if the violator(s) harm others by ignoring the quarantine.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the Finger Lakes Region will move into Phase Four on Friday, but the type of businesses that can reopen are limited to low-risk outdoor and indoor museums, art galleries, historical venues and zoos, as well as media production companies.

Click here for a story posted this morning on The Batavian.

In county business, the legislature passed the following resolutions:

-- Acceptance of $11,956 from the Office of Justice Bulletproof Vest Program for the purchase of body armor for sheriff’s deputies and correction officers. Sheriff William Sheron previously indicated the funding will cover about a dozen bulletproof vests.

-- A contract for $97,083.39 with Johnson Controls of Rochester to replace fire alarms and a contract for $47,766.25 with Chemung Supply Corp. of Elmira to replace the bridge decking of the McLernon Road bridge in the Town of Bethany. A capital project has been established for the bridge replacement, with the local share of $50,600 to be used to cover the cost.

-- Scheduling of a public hearing for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 22 at the Old Courthouse for Genesee Community College’s proposed operating budget for 2020-21. Genesee County contributes $2,636,374 to the college’s $38.1 million spending plan.

-- Elimination of computer support technician and systems specialist positions as part of an organizational restructuring of the technology department. The two employees in those jobs currently are furloughed. The estimated cost savings in salary and benefits in 2020 is $63,613 (not including the furlough) and in 2021 is $152,671.

-- Requiring proof of liability insurance in the amount of at least $1 million from Genesee Country Farmers’ Market, the Batavia Improvement District, and the City of Batavia in order for the county Office for the Aging to distribute state Health Department Farmers’ Market vouchers to customers and set up an information table at the Genesee Country Farmers’ Market at the Alva Place parking lot from June 30-Oct. 2.

-------------------------

July is Park and Recreation Month

park_proclamation_1.jpg

Photo: The Genesee County Legislature tonight designated July as Park and Recreation Month. Displaying the proclamation are, from left, Shannon Lyaski, Conservation Education Program coordinator; Paul Osborn, deputy superintendent Facilities, Parks, Recreation & Forestry, and Tim Hens, superintendent. Facilities, Parks, Recreation & Forestry. Photo by Mike Pettinella.

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
31
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2019 The Batavian. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
 

blue button